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Encyclopedia > John Hancock Tower
John Hancock Tower, 200 Clarendon St., Boston, viewing a narrow corner
Aerial view of Back Bay, Boston including the Charles River, 111 Huntington Avenue, Prudential Tower, and John Hancock Tower
Aerial view of Back Bay, Boston including the Charles River, 111 Huntington Avenue, Prudential Tower, and John Hancock Tower

Three different buildings in Boston, Massachusetts, have been known as the "John Hancock Building", and perhaps a fourth will be. All were built by the John Hancock Insurance companies. References to the John Hancock building usually refer to the 60-story, sleek glass building on Clarendon Street. Download high resolution version (433x720, 50 KB)The modern John Hancock Tower, 200 Clarendon, Boston. ... Download high resolution version (433x720, 50 KB)The modern John Hancock Tower, 200 Clarendon, Boston. ... Download high resolution version (2186x953, 385 KB)Aerial view of Back Bay, Boston including the Prudential Center and John Hancock Tower, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. ... Download high resolution version (2186x953, 385 KB)Aerial view of Back Bay, Boston including the Prudential Center and John Hancock Tower, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. ... This article is about the neighborhood of Back Bay. ... The Charles River from the Boston side, facing Cambridge and the main campus of Harvard University. ... View of 111 Huntington Avenue from the Prudential Tower observatory. ... Prudential Tower in 2005. ... Nickname: City on the Hill, Beantown, The Hub (of the Universe)1, Athens of America, The Cradle of Revolution, Puritan City, Americas Walking City Location in Massachusetts, USA Counties Suffolk County Mayor Thomas M. Menino(D) Area    - City 232. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ... John Hancock Insurance is a loose term for a major United States insurance company which existed, in various forms, from its founding on April 21, 1862 until its acquisition in 2004 by the Canadian Manulife Financial Corporation. ...

Contents

Hancock Place (the "John Hancock Tower")

The building known by Bostonians as the John Hancock Tower, or colloquially, the "New" Hancock Tower, is officially named Hancock Place. It is a 100-story, 790-foot-tall (241 meter) skyscraper designed by I.M. Pei and Henry N. Cobb of the firm now known as Pei, Cobb and Freed and was completed in 1976. In 1977 the AIA presented Cobb with a National Honor Award for the John Hancock Tower. Taipei 101, the worlds tallest building architecturally, is located in Taipei City, Taiwan. ... Ieoh Ming Pei (貝聿銘 pinyin Bèi Yùmíng) is a Chinese American architect born in Suzhou, China on April 26, 1917. ... Henry N. Cobb (born 1926 in Boston, Massachusetts) is an American architect and founding partner in Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, an international architectural firm based in New York City. ... James Ingo Freed (June 23, 1930-December 15, 2005) was an American architect of German Jewish heritage. ... The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is the professional organization for architects in the United States. ...


As of 2005, it is the tallest building in New England, the 45th tallest building in the United States, and the 131st tallest building in the world. 2005 is a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the region in the United States of America. ... 1. ... Taipei 101, the worlds tallest building, is located in Taipei City, (Taiwan). ...


Its street address is 200 Clarendon Street. The company uses both "Hancock Place" and "200 Clarendon Street" as mailing addresses for offices in the building. The John Hancock companies were the main tenants of the tower, but the insurance company announced in 2004 that some offices will relocate to a new building at 601 Congress Street. It sits prominently near Copley Square in Boston's Back Bay. Categories: Stub | Boston ... Back Bay is the name of several places and neighborhoods in the world, including: Back Bay, Boston Back Bay, New Brunswick This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...


Like all large, heavily glazed buildings, the tower requires substantial air conditioning year round—even with its reflective walls. Its cooling system is similar to that used in the IDS Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Note: in the broadest sense, air conditioning can refer to any form of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning. ... Opened in 1974, the IDS Center (or IDS Tower) is the tallest building in Minneapolis, Minnesota at 792 feet (241. ... Nickname: City of Lakes Motto: En Avant Location in Hennepin County and the state of Minnesota. ...


Introduction

Tall, skinny glass structures were a goal of modernist architecture ever since Mies Van Der Rohe proposed a glass skyscraper for Berlin. Such buildings as Gordon Bunshaft's Lever House, van der Rohe's Seagram Building, and Frank Lloyd Wright's Johnson Wax Headquarters attempted this goal, but many of these designs retained structural artifacts that prevented a consistent, monolithic look. The reconstructed German Pavilion in Barcelona Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (born Maria Ludwig Michael Mies) (March 27, 1886 – August 17, 1969) was a German architect. ... Berlin is the capital city and one of the sixteen states of the Federal Republic of Germany. ... Gordon Bunshaft (May 9, 1909–August 6, 1990) was a 20th century architect educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. ... Lever House, by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill on Park Avenue in New York City, is the quintessential and seminal glass box International Style skyscraper. ... The Seagram Building The Seagram Building is a skyscraper in New York City. ... Frank Lloyd Wright (June 8, 1867—April 9, 1959) was one of the most prominent and influential architects during the first half of the 20th century. ... Johnson Wax Headquarters (1936-1939), the world headquarters and administration building of the SC Johnson Wax Company in Racine, Wisconsin was designed by American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, for the companys president, Herbert F. Hib Johnson. ...

Looking straight up at John Hancock Tower, viewing a broad corner
Looking straight up at John Hancock Tower, viewing a broad corner

In 1972, Pei's design of the Hancock Tower took the glass monolith skyscraper concept to new heights. The tower is an achievement in minimalist, modernist skyscraper design. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (960x1280, 215 KB)I photographed the Hancock building during a trip to Boston in 2001. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (960x1280, 215 KB)I photographed the Hancock building during a trip to Boston in 2001. ... Modernism is a trend of thought that affirms the power of human beings to make, improve, deconstruct and reshape their built and designed environment, with the aid of scientific knowledge, technology and practical experimentation, thus in its essence both progressive and optimistic. ...


Minimalism was the design principle behind the tower. The largest panes of glass possible were used. There are no spandrels panels, and the mullions are minimal. Pei added a geometric modernist twist by using a parallelogram shape for the tower floor plan. From the most common views, this design makes the corners of the tower appear very sharp. The highly reflective window glass is tinted slightly blue, which results in the tower having only a slight contrast with the sky on a clear day. As a final modernist touch, the short sides of the parrallelogram are marked with a deep vertical notch, breaking the tower's mass and emphasizing its verticality. A spandrel is originally a term from Architecture, but has more recently been given an analogous meaning in Evolutionary biology. ... Mullion, Cornwall is also the name of a village in Cornwall off the Lizard. ... A parallelogram. ...


Problems with the building

It was a much-anticipated landmark from the country's most respected design firm. Unfortunately, the tower is more notorious for its engineering flaws than for its architectural achievement. Its opening was delayed from 1971 to 1976, and the total cost is rumored to have rocketed from $75M to $175M. It was an embarrassment for the firm, modernist architects, and the architecture industry. [citation needed] Engineering is the design, analysis, and/or construction of works for practical purposes. ... The Parthenon on top of the Acropolis, Athens, Greece Architecture (from Latin, architectura and ultimately from Greek, αρχιτεκτων, a master builder, from αρχι- chief, leader and τεκτων, builder, carpenter) is the art and science of designing buildings and structures. ...


Foundation

Hancock Tower was plagued with problems even before construction started. During the excavation of the tower's foundation, temporary steel retaining walls were erected to create a void on which to build. The walls warped, giving way to the clay and mud fill they were supposed to hold back. The inward bend of the retaining walls damaged utility lines, the sidewalk pavement, and nearby buildings—even damaging the historic Trinity Church next door. Hancock ultimately paid for all the repairs. The term archaeological excavation has a double meaning. ... Structure in the foreground is called a mud box - a kind of retaining wall built to hold the flood waters in check. ... Trinity Church in Boston. ...


Falling glass panes

Inventing a way to use the blue mirror glass in a steel tower came at a high price.

Soon after the building was completed, windowpanes began detaching from the building and falling to the street below. These were temporarily replaced with plywood.
Soon after the building was completed, windowpanes began detaching from the building and falling to the street below. These were temporarily replaced with plywood.

The building's most dangerous and conspicuous flaw was its faulty glass windows. Entire 4' x 11', 500 lb (1.2x3.4 m, 227 kg) windowpanes detached from the building and crashed to the sidewalk hundreds of feet below. Police closed off surrounding streets whenever winds reached 45 mph (72 km/h). According to the Boston Globe, MIT built a scale model of the entire Back Bay in its Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel to identify the problem. The exact cause of the malfunction was never revealed due to a legal settlement and gag order. Most now diagnose the problem as a combination of the double-paned glass construction method, and the pressure differentials between the inside and outside air. Image File history File links Plylwood_palace. ... Image File history File links Plylwood_palace. ... The Boston Globe is the most widely-circulated daily newspaper in Boston, Massachusetts and in the greater New England region. ...


In October 1973, I.M. Pei & Partners announced that all panes would be replaced by a different heat-treated variety—costing between $5 million and $7 million. During the repairs, plywood replaced the building's windows, earning it the nickname "Plywood Palace" and the joke that it was "the world's tallest plywood building."


Nauseating sway

The building's upper-floor occupants suffered from motion sickness when the building swayed in the wind. To stabilize the movement, a device called a tuned mass damper was installed on the 58th floor. As described by Robert Campbell, architecture critic for the Boston Globe: A tuned mass damper is a device mounted in structures to prevent discomfort, damage or outright structural failure by vibration. ...

Two 300-ton weights sit at opposite ends of the 58th floor of the Hancock. Each weight is a box of steel, filled with lead, 17 feet (5.2 m) square by 3 feet (0.9 m) high. Each weight rests on a steel plate. The plate is covered with lubricant so the weight is free to slide. But the weight is attached to the steel frame of the building by means of springs and shock absorbers. When the Hancock sways, the weight tends to remain still... allowing the floor to slide underneath it. Then, as the springs and shocks take hold, they begin to tug the building back. The effect is like that of a gyroscope, stabilizing the tower. The reason there are two weights, instead of one, is so they can tug in opposite directions when the building twists. The cost of the damper was $3 million.

The dampers are free to move a few feet relative to the floor. LeMessurier Consultants says the dampers are located in relatively small utility rooms at each end of the building, leaving most of the 58th floor usable. The engineer responsible for the structural desing of the Citicorp headquarters tower, in New York, (1977). ...


According to Robert Campbell, it was also discovered that—despite the mass damper—the building could have fallen over under a certain kind of wind loading. Ironically, it could tip over on one of its narrow edges, not its big flat sides. Some 1,500 tons of diagonal steel bracing were added to prevent this, costing $5 million.


September 11

An observation deck with spectacular views of Boston was a popular attraction. It was closed after the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks and remains closed as of late 2006 (like the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco). Because of the closure of the John Hancock Tower's observation deck, the highest observation deck in Boston that is open to the public is in the Prudential Tower. The World Trade Center on fire The September 11, 2001 attacks were a series of coordinated terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001. ... The Transamerica Pyramid. ... This page is a candidate for speedy deletion. ... Prudential Tower in 2005. ...


The building's owners cite security as the reason for the continued closure, but have used the deck for private functions and have expressed intent to replace it with more office space. Boston officials contend that security concerns are moot, since most similar attractions have long since reopened, and that a public observation deck was a requirement for the original building permits, though the city can't seem to produce documentary evidence.1


The Berkeley Building (the "old John Hancock Building")

"Old" John Hancock Tower, 200 Berkeley St., Boston. The spire at top houses a neon-lit weather beacon.
Main article: Berkeley Building

The second of the "John Hancock buildings" is a 26-story, 495-foot (151 meters) skyscraper structure located at 200 Berkeley Street which is one of the smallest skyscrapers (150 meter plus) in Boston. It was designed by Cram and Ferguson and completed in 1947. From 1947 until 1964 it was the second-tallest building in Boston, one foot shorter than the 496-foot Custom House Tower, but a much larger building and a very conspicuous landmark. The Prudential Tower, completed in 1964, dwarfed both. As of 2004 a dozen buildings are taller, yet it remains a handsome and easily recognized Boston landmark, familiar to commuters crossing the Charles River. A drawing of this building served as a logo for the insurance company for many years. Download high resolution version (1024x1098, 120 KB)The 1947 John Hancock Tower, 200 Berkeley, Boston. ... Download high resolution version (1024x1098, 120 KB)The 1947 John Hancock Tower, 200 Berkeley, Boston. ... General Name, Symbol, Number neon, Ne, 10 Chemical series noble gases Group, Period, Block 18, 2, p Appearance colorless Atomic mass 20. ... A weather beacon is a tower which indicates the weather forecast, usually with colored or flashing lights. ... Old John Hancock Tower, 200 Berkeley St. ... Taipei 101, the worlds tallest building architecturally, is located in Taipei City, Taiwan. ... Boston skyscrapers, L-R: 60 State Street, Custom House Tower, and Exchange Place The Custom House Tower is a turn of the century skyscraper in the Financial District neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. ... Prudential Tower in 2005. ... The Charles River from the Boston side, facing Cambridge and the main campus of Harvard University. ...


As of 2004 the John Hancock company refers to it as "The Berkeley Building," but in common parlance it is "the old John Hancock Building." 2004 is a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


It is topped by a weather beacon with red and blue lights, which use a code to present the local weather forecast, using a popular rhyme as a mnemonic: A weather beacon is a tower which indicates the weather forecast, usually with colored or flashing lights. ... Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: English mnemonics A mnemonic (pronounced in Received Pronunciation) is a memory aid, and most serve an educational purpose. ...

Steady blue, clear view.
Flashing blue, clouds due.
Steady red, rain ahead.
Flashing red, snow instead.[1]

During baseball season, flashing red means the Boston Red Sox game has been called off on account of weather. A view of the playing field at Busch Stadium II St. ... Major league affiliations American League (1901–present) East Division (1969–present) Current uniform Retired Numbers 1 • 4 • 8 • 9 • 27 • 42 Name Boston Red Sox (1907–present) See Nicknames before Red Sox for disputed nicknames Ballpark Fenway Park (1912–present) Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds (1901-1911) Major league titles World...


When the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, the Boston Herald reported "Atop the old Hancock tower on Berkeley Street, the old weather beacon that always flashed red will now flash . . . red and blue, in honor of you know who."[2]


The Stephen L. Brown Building (197 Clarendon St.)

Facade of the Stephen L. Brown Building.
The three John Hancock buildings. The two older structures are reflected in the façade of the newest. The Stephen L. Brown building is the low, flat one.
The three John Hancock buildings. The two older structures are reflected in the façade of the newest. The Stephen L. Brown building is the low, flat one.

The oldest of the John Hancock buildings was designed by Parker, Thomas & Rice, best known as architects of the United Shoe Machinery building. It was completed in 1922. It is located at 197 Clarendon St. across from the Hancock tower. It was known as the "John Hancock Life Insurance Company Building." The building was never considered particularly notable; for example, it is not mentioned in the 1937 WPA state guide to Massachusetts. In recent years it was known as "The Clarendon Building." Circa 2001 it was renamed "The Stephen L. Brown Building" in honor of Stephen L. Brown, chairman of John Hancock Financial Services, Inc. According to Lyndon Donlyn, "if you stand on the corner of Clarendon Street and St. James Avenue and look directly into the mirrored surface of the third Hancock, you will see reflected there the first two, aligned hierarchically in an ethereal family portrait." Download high resolution version (1024x768, 134 KB)The entrance to the John Hancock Building, 197 Clarendon, Boston. ... Download high resolution version (1024x768, 134 KB)The entrance to the John Hancock Building, 197 Clarendon, Boston. ... Download high resolution version (1024x768, 167 KB)Donlyn Lyndon said (in his 1982 book, The City Observed: Boston, A Guide to the Architecture of the Hub), that if you stand on the corner of Clarendon Street and St. ... Download high resolution version (1024x768, 167 KB)Donlyn Lyndon said (in his 1982 book, The City Observed: Boston, A Guide to the Architecture of the Hub), that if you stand on the corner of Clarendon Street and St. ...


Originally, the Planned Development Area (PDA) agreement for the building of the 60-story John Hancock Tower called for 197 Clarendon to be demolished to make way for open space or a public square. In 1982, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, responding to a request from the John Hancock company, decided that it would be better to keep the building on the tax rolls. It was also thought that open space near the base of the tower might not be desirable, due to the tower's "wind tunnel" effect. The Boston Redevelopment Authority is a planning and development agency in Boston. ...




601 Congress Street

Construction site of Manulife building (601 Congress Street), taken 2003.
Construction site of Manulife building (601 Congress Street), taken 2003.

In 2002, Manulife began construction of a 14-story building in the Seaport District at 601 Congress Street (Picture). The building was designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP of Chicago, designers of the John Hancock Center in Chicago and the Sears Tower, also in Chicago. The building features a "green" (energy-efficient) dual glass curtain wall construction, making it among the first buildings in Boston to win national LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. Download high resolution version (695x695, 135 KB)Aerial view of construction site of Manulife Building, Boston, 601 Congress Street, in 2003 This photo is part of the Boston Water and Sewer Commissions aerial orthophoto collection. ... Download high resolution version (695x695, 135 KB)Aerial view of construction site of Manulife Building, Boston, 601 Congress Street, in 2003 This photo is part of the Boston Water and Sewer Commissions aerial orthophoto collection. ... Manulife Financial (TSX: MFC) (NYSE: MFC) is a Canadian insurance company. ... Several buildings bear this name, all built by John Hancock Insurance and named after John Hancock. ... The Sears Tower is a skyscraper in Chicago, Illinois, and the tallest building in the United States, by the measurement from the ground to its roof. ...


On April 28, 2004, the then-head of Manulife's Boston operations announced that the building would be renamed the "John Hancock Building."[3] According to Manulife, this is not quite correct; the building, completed in fall of 2004, will house the John Hancock Wealth Management Group and will bear conspicuous "John Hancock" exterior and interior signage featuring the John Hancock logo. However, the company will refer to the building simply as "601 Congress." April 28 is the 118th day of the year (119th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 247 days remaining. ...


Only time will tell whether this notable Seaport district building will become known in common parlance as the fourth "John Hancock building." As of 2005, however Emporis lists the "official name" of the building as the "Manulife Tower." 2005 is a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Note on company name

The company that built the three buildings is known loosely as "John Hancock Insurance," or simply "John Hancock." It was known as "The John Hancock Life Insurance Company" in the 1930s and "The John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company" in the 1940s. As of 2000, the company owning the buildings was "John Hancock Financial Services, Inc." with various subsidiaries such as "The John Hancock Variable Life Insurance Company" and "Signator Investors, Inc." In 2003, the company was acquired by the Canadian Manulife Financial Corporation, but still uses the name "John Hancock Financial Services, Inc." and those of various subsidiaries. John Hancock Insurance is a loose term for a major United States insurance company which existed, in various forms, from its founding on April 21, 1862 until its acquisition in 2004 by the Canadian Manulife Financial Corporation. ... John Hancock Insurance is a loose term for a major United States insurance company which existed, in various forms, from its founding on April 21, 1862 until its acquisition in 2004 by the Canadian Manulife Financial Corporation. ... This article is about the year 2000. ...


References

  • Note 1: Park, Madison. "Searching for an answer on 60th floor: Councilor wants Hancock site open." Boston Globe 15 Jun 2005: . [1]
  • Location and size of mass dampers: telephone conversation with Richard Henige, LeMessurier Consultants, Inc.
  • Oct. 15, 1973. "Those Window Pains". TIME.
  • Harl P. Aldrich, James R. Lambrechts (Fall 1986). "Back Bay Boston, Part II: Groundwater Levels". Civil Engineering Practice, Volume 1, Number 2.
  1. ^ Swidey, Neal (2003): "On Top Of Boston's Weather - Controlling The Weather Beacon On The Old Hancock Building Might Be Routine, But This Operator Knows Its Importance To The City." The Boston Globe, November 23, 2003, magazine, p. 8. Interview with John Gailus, who operates the beacon. Gives text of rhyme. Quotes Gailus: "There are three switches: one for power, one for red or blue, and one for flashing or steady."
  2. ^ Crittenden, Jules, Casey Ross And Marie Szaniszlo (2004): "Hallelujah! It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This." The Boston Herald," October 29, 2004
  3. ^ Fitzgerald, Jay (2004), "Hancock signs off independence," The Boston Herald, April 29, 2004, Business section: "Proving that Manulife intends to keep and promote the famous John Hancock brand name, D'Alessandro said Manulife's Southie tower will be renamed the "John Hancock Building."

Time (whose trademark is capitalized TIME) is a weekly American newsmagazine, similar to Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report. ...

See also

  • Prudential Tower for an image of the Boston skyline from Cambridge in 1963, with the old 26-story Hancock building a conspicuous landmark.

Prudential Tower in 2005. ...

External links

  • Images of the John Hancock Tower by Mary Ann Sullivan
  • Architecture Week: "When Bad Things Happen to Good Buildings" - has pictures of plywood on the Tower
  • The Perfect Skyscraper - an ode to the final example of the modernist skyscraper.
  • "Builder Faced Bigger Crisis Than Falling Windows" Boston Globe article by Robert Campbell on Hancock Place's most serious structural problem.
  • Boston photos shows an image of the old Hancock building reflected in the new one.
  • Image of the Manulife building at 601 Congress Street
  • Special Report on the Boston Globe; "The Hancock at 30" includes 4 audio slideshows
  • Globe Critic, Robert Campbell, on the problems of the John Hancock Tower

  Results from FactBites:
 
John Paul Jones and John Hancock (1285 words)
Hancock's name exuded a sense of security and, according to the company's own history, a half million dollars of insurance had been sold by 1864 and $20 million worth within a decade.
John Hancock and John Paul Jones With the exception of Washington, Jefferson and Franklin, no two names from the American Revolution are better recognized than John Hancock and John Paul Jones.
John Hancock went on to be Governor of Massachusetts in the new United States and lived sumptuously until he died of gout in 1793 at age 56.
John Hancock History (1276 words)
Or that, when the 60-story glass John Hancock Tower was built in Boston's Back Bay in 1971, a steel beam with more than 2,000 employees' signatures was hoisted to the top of the building for posterity, and still remains there to this day?
Now part of the world of publicly traded companies, John Hancock is looking at the successes of the past as a prelude to the accomplishments of the future.
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